HOUSTON – The 2021 college football season is winding down and the Houston Cougars are rolling with only three games left to play. At 8-1, 6-0 on the season, the Cougars are one of the great stories of the season nationally at this point. Losing week one to Texas Tech at NRG Stadium was a wake up call and since then the Cougars have reeled off eight straight wins . Here is a look at Saturday’s matchup in Philadelphia against the Temple Owls. Thanks to the information provided by the UH Athletics department.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
« Houston checks in at No. 17 both the USA Today Coaches Poll and AP Top 25. It marks the second consecutive week garnering a national ranking. The last time the Cougars were ranked in consecutive weeks by the AP was Aug. 21-Oct. 16, 2016 (eight straight weeks).
« Houston’s eight-game win streak is its longest since winning as many from Nov. 27, 2015-Sept. 29, 2016. The streak is the fifth-longest active nationally. The Cougars have won eight-or-more consecutive games nine times in program history. Houston’s last stretch of nine-plus consecutive wins was Jan. 2-Nov. 14, 2015 (11 games).
« With a win Saturday, Houston would lock up its first conference championship game appearance since 2015 when it defeated Temple in The American’s inaugural title game. The Cougars have won 11 conference championships. The 2021 AAC Football Championship is set for Saturday, Dec. 4.
« Houston has started conference play 6-0 for the fifth time in program history (2021, 2015, 2011, 1990, 1978). The Cougars have started a season 8-1 or better eight times in program history (2021, 2015, 2011, 2009, 1990, 1979, 1978, 1973).
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
« During its win at USF last Saturday, Houston had multiple 100-yard rushers (Ta’Zhawn Henry – 130, Alton McCaskill – 125) and multiple 100-yard receivers (Nathaniel Dell – 164, KeSean Carter – 123) in a game for the first time in school history. Houston has played 851 games since the program began in 1946.
« Houston and Temple are meeting for the eighth time. Houston leads the all-time series 6-1 including a 3-0 mark in Philadelphia. The Cougars are 4-1 against Temple as co-members of the American Athletic Conference highlighted by a 24-13 win in the inaugural AAC Championship game on Dec. 5, 2015.
« Houston is 147-119-5 all-time during the month of November including a 32-24 mark since the start of the 2006 season.
« Last Saturday against USF, Houston notched its first safety since 2017. This season the Cougars have scored 38 non-offensive points including two punt return touchdowns (12 points), two interception returns for a touchdown (12 points), two kickoff return touchdowns (12 points) and a safety (2 points).
« Houston has qualified for its 14th bowl game in the last 17 seasons (2005-present). The Cougars’ 13 bowl appearances since 2005 rank second among programs in Texas, trailing only Texas A&M (14). Houston’s 86 victories since the start of the 2011 season second among FBS schools in Texas, trailing only Texas A&M (91).
« Temple is celebrating its 123rd season of football beginning play in 1898.
« The Temple defense has done a great job so far in defending the pass. The Owls unit currently ranks second in the conference and seventh in the country in passing yards allowed per game (170.8).
« Temple has trailed in seven of eight games at the end of the first quarter. The first quarter has not been kind to Temple as the Owls have been outscored 74-7 through the first eight games of the season, being shutout in seven of those games.
« In its recent four-game skid, Temple has forced five turnovers that resulted in just three points. Conversely, opponents have had eight takeaways in that span converting six for touchdowns.
LAST TIME AGAINST TEMPLE
« Houston Football team dropped its American Athletic Conference contest against Temple on Nov. 10, 2018, by a score of 59-49 inside TDECU Stadium.
« Houston’s high octane offense put up 527 yards of offense.
« With the Cougars trailing by a touchdown after the first 15 minutes of the game, the Owls opened the second quarter with a rushing touchdown to push their lead back to 14. Houston responded immediately with a score of its own thanks to junior running back Patrick Carr carrying in his third touchdown of the season to cut the deficit to 21-14.
A HOUSTON WIN WOULD …
» Clinch an appearance in The American Athletic Conference Championship game, set for Saturday, Dec. 4. It would be Houston’s second appearance in the title game and first since 2015.
» Move Houston to 7-0 in AAC play. The Cougars have won their first seven conference games twice (2011, 1990).
» Move Houston’s win streak to nine consecutive, the program’s longest since Jan. 2-Nov. 14, 2015 (11 games).
» Move Houston to 7-1 against Temple and 4-0 against the Owls in Philadelphia.
» Be Houston’s fifth consecutive on the road, marking the program’s longest streak since Sept. 9-Nov. 25, 2011 (six games). It would also be Houston’s fourth consecutive AAC road victory, marking the longest for the Cougars since joining the league (previously four -- Oct. 3-24, 2015 and Oct. 11-Nov. 28, 2015).
Tickets are on sale for Houston Football’s regular season home finale against Memphis on Friday, Nov. 19. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. Fans are encouraged to wear red and arrive early as the program honors its senior class.